Creative Albany Inc. is delighted to receive news that the funding committed at the last election by the State Government for an innovation hub has been approved. The community-based, volunteer-run organisation has been working for over ten years to support creative workers in Albany and the wider Great Southern region, and the grant of $340,000 will enable them to resource initiatives to boost the creative sector in the region. The organisation conducted an audit in 2015 which revealed a hidden economy of designers, coders, musicians, architects, writers, digital developers and other creative workers and innovators - and this audit prompted them to seek funding to help grow and network the sector. Malcolm Traill, Chair, said "Creative Albany has been running innovation and design networking events - called D!GS - for the past two years and has established partnerships with the Albany Enterprise Group, Regional Development Australia Great Southern and the UWA Wave Energy Research Centre, which will form a strong base from which we can build programmes and network with other industries. These partnerships will also support us with access to advice, expertise and local know-how." The granting of the funds is the culmination of 12 months work in preparing a business case to the State Government, which was then written into an Operations Plan by Keston Technologies with the support of Regional Development Australia Great Southern. Malcolm said, "Creative Albany is looking forward to 2019 being an exciting year of new initiatives, for which we now have the resources needed to support innovation programmes and develop a virtual and digital ‘hub’ for designers and innovators."
Since securing a commitment for funding at the last State election, Creative Albany has been busy talking to government about innovation in the Regions as the WA government formulates it’s policy and funding priorities. Watch Local member Peter Watson and Minister MacTiernan talk about the DIGS Hub here:
We were invited to attend a round table discussion with the Premier in August as one of only 2 regionally based creatives, In October we met with Peter Watson MLA and Minister MacTiernan to confirm the commitment of $340,000 for our DIGS hub proposal, and in November we were invited to attend the Regional Innovation Summit in Bunbury.
The Summit provided valuable opportunities to meet other creative groups from all over the State - and hear from national experts about trends in innovation, successful models and upcoming opportunities. The summit was hosted by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development who presented a strategy for supporting innovation and entrepreneurs in WA. This includes 4 pillars to help build innovation ‘ecologies’;
PILLAR 1: Talent, Skills and Entrepreneurs – How do we build and maintain a strong pipeline of talent with a relevant mix of STEM and entrepreneurial skills to commercialise ideas globally? PILLAR 2: Investment and Infrastructure – How do we ensure an accessible network of transport, telecommunications and capital to facilitate the movement of people, information and goods? PILLAR 3:Culture and Collaboration – How do we increase connectivity between regions and stakeholders to better support entrepreneurs and innovators for success? PILLAR 4: Marketing and Promotion – How do we celebrate our successes and develop a consistent, globally recognised brand that attracts investment and talent to our regions?
Creative Albany was able to send Sally to Bunbury with the assistance of Country Arts WA and we gratefully acknowledge their support:
We are now working to secure the release of the DIGS funding based on the guidelines presented at the Summit, and are building partnerships with other organisations so as to ensure we have a strong and sustainable base to work from.
If you would like to know more about DIGS or attend our DIGS networking events, please contact us.
Professor Brian Finlayson with the Albany Sinfonia
Creative Albany has added another 'string to our bow' with the successful completion of public string instrument masterclasses in Albany.
We supported the WA branch of the Strings Association in bringing renown violinist Brian Finlayson to the Great Southern and other regional centres to conduct public string masterclasses, work with members of the Albany Sinfonia and teach string students at Great Southern Grammar and Albany Senior High School.
Professor Finlayson, who is the head of strings at the State Conservatorium of Carinthia in Austria and former leader of the Australian Philharmonic Orchestra, worked with participants on their playing techniques as well with interpretation of pieces played from an artistic point of view. Local string musicians are now looking forward to the National AUSTA in Perth In July 2018, at which regional teachers and participants will have further opportunity to build the skills developed with Brian.
AUSTA WA was grateful to Creative Albany for acting as auspicer and assisting in securing funding towards the project from Country Arts WA:
In the first ever GovHack event run in Albany, both our teams won first prize in their event categories at the recent State awards. Congratulations to all the 'hackers' and organisers involved - Creative Albany is a very proud sponsor. we look forward to next year's event and encourage creative thinkers of all sorts to get involved.
And, congratulations Emilian on being a Spirit of GovHack winner!
This is what GovHack had to say about Emilian : Emilian Roman was recommended by a local TAFE lecturer to provide the organising committee with support and technical expertise. He really came into his own and showed how expansive his skills and knowledge were and was an amazing member of the Albany team. He willingly assisted other competitors throughout the competition and was fantastic at ensuring the systems pulled together for the weekend ran smoothly. He provided clear documentation of the tech side to our sponsoring contractors and designed a stunning Livestream Frame to promote our local sponsors. He was our quiet achiever.
"The latest news from Matt - who's winging his way to Albany (perhaps on his Jiminy Cricket wings as pictured above!)
"It’s less than a month now until my major project 40 Years Later in Albany, Western Australia and things are really getting busy. I’ve just finished my latest show in London and am making my way to Albany via NSW with family. 40 Years Later is a singing and acting project about the last year of whaling in Australia, or more specifically the events surrounding the international Save the Whale Campaign staged in Albany in 1977. These events are still controversial today, with the eventual protection of whales in 1978 at the loss of many livelihoods of local families.
As a performer, my main task is as an interpreter of other’s music. And what I’m really excited about is how 40 Years Later looks towards finding a place for performers as equal part creators. Singing and acting has always been an integral part of my life and profession and my residency at the Vancouver Arts Centre in partnership with Creative Albany Inc and Albany’s Historic Whaling Station has afforded me the perfect chance to explore my place as performer, interpreter and creator.
40 Years Later includes at least 19 workshops for schools, existing community groups and the local community. It features at its heart the creation of a new theatre and music work, to be performed in a World Premiere on the 27th of August 2017 by a number of the workshop participants. I’ve been working closely with composer, Jonathan Brain, to create for Albany, its first music and theatre work (or contemporary opera).
What’s thrilling for me is how singing and acting can lift history off the page. How it allows us to access our past in a personal and very honest manner. The creation of new music looks towards forwarding our understanding of what performance can be. How can we create new work which both teaches us more about singing and acting and celebrates history in a non-cerebral, exciting way? We certainly hope that 40 Years Later will do just that! In the next few weeks you might get a glimpse of our creation in progress, and we promise you it will excite and challenge your ideas about what vocal performance can be. So join us, and decide for yourself."
What’s on: 5th August 2017, 10:00-13:00: Scratch Choir, Albany’s Historic Whaling Station.
6th August 2017, 14:00-15:00: Matt in Concert, Skeleton Shed, Albany’s Historic Whaling Station.
12th & 19th August 2017, 10:00-13:00 Open Workshops, Vancouver Arts Centre.
27 August 2017, 15:00-16:00 & 17:00-18:00 World Premiere of 40 YEARS LATER, Vancouver Arts Centre.
Albany artist Louise Allerton and Sydney based media artist Julian Knowles have been in development on the This Visceral Landscape exhibition which opens August 8 at the Vancouver Art Centre, Albany. Funded by Country Arts WA and auspiced by Creative Albany Inc, the exhibition consists of a range of sound and media responses to the landscapes of the south western region. Using custom software developed by the artists, a range of responsive works will draw on live data from five weather stations in the region which influence and activate responsive video works in the gallery. The viewer is immersed in an audio-visual environment that is dynamic and environmentally responsive, inviting viewers to return to the exhibition during different weather conditions to experience the ways in which the physical environment outside the gallery impacts the artworks. The project investigates the ways in which artworks can be conceived as dynamic systems which embrace physical phenomena as core structuring elements.
The Perth Writers Festival in the Great Southern opens on Sunday with one of the world’s great writers of historical non-fiction, Simon Winchester, in Albany to talk about his latest work Pacific.
He will be joined on stage in the Town Hall by Simon Smale from Bush Heritage Australia.
Smale is a New Zealander and he said he was keen to talk to Winchester because his work “speaks to me as a citizen of the Pacific.”
“In its scope Winchester's book matches that of the ocean it explores,” said Smale. “Traversing ten key aspects of the Pacific's recent history, he believes it is the ocean of the future. In a very real sense it is the generator of the world's weather, increasingly dramatic and stormy as climate change kicks in.”
On Monday Canadian novelist Patrick deWitt talks to Jon Doust. deWitt was born on Vancouver Island, named after George Vancouver who also visited Albany in 1791.
“I have read two of deWitt’s novels,” said Doust. “The Sisters Brothers and his latest, Undermajordomo Minor and both are intriguing, mysterious, dark, funny, and finely crafted. Both are takes on old genres, with the first a western and the second written in response to his reading of European folk tales.”
Maree Dawes is looking forward to talking to Virginia Reeves about the way she weaves disparate universes together and provides the reader with a past so detailed it feels like you could open a door and walk in.
“Her novel, Work Like Any Other, said Dawes, “takes us into the State of Alabama in the 1920s through the electricity company, borderline farming and prison without ever losing touch with the universal truths revealed through the inner landscapes of her characters.
Jasper Forde does not lead to boredom, said Warren Flynn, the writer’s chair for his Tuesday session. Forde has a background in major feature film production and he knows how to time scenes to make maximum impact with minimal words.
“Forde tries his hand at all genres,” said Flynn. “He has written a sort of Swiss Army knife range of books, so if you don't like a sub-plot, just wait five minutes and another will come along and if you don't like a genre, wait and another will pop-up.”
The final event features Paolo Bacigalupi, an American science fiction writer, talking with Giles Watson.
“As a writer whose own source of inspiration is often the natural world,” said Watson, “and as an environmental activist and wildlife rehabilitator, I feel an affinity with the mind that produced The Windup Girl and The Water Knife.
All Perth Writers’ Festival chaired sessions will take place in the Town Hall.
A FULL VERSION
Simon Smale on talking with Simon Winchester The Bay of Plenty where I grew up on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island faces northeast to the great Pacific Ocean. The ancestors of the Maori kids who lived either side of me and who made up half the roll at the schools I attended in the small coastal town of Whakatane were the descendants of the indigenous Tau people of Taiwan who had migrated progressively eastwards across the Pacific over 4000-6000 years. They finally turned southwest to arrive in Aotearoa/New Zealand, then the last significant temperate landmass on the planet not yet colonised by our species, likely around 700 years ago.
The great Mata-atua - 'the Eye of God' canoe that landed in the estuary at Whakatane, was one of seven that arrived around that time, though there were others before and after, and the landscape of my childhood was steeped in the traditional stories of the vast ocean it had crossed, and of the travails it had endured, before finding at Whakatane the chosen place the ancestors had spoken of. Simon Winchester's 'Pacific', its scope matching that of the ocean it explores, speaks to me as a citizen of the Pacific.
Traversing ten key aspects of the Pacific's recent history, Simon makes the case that it is 'the ocean of the future'. It is in a real sense the generator of the world's weather, increasingly dramatic and stormy as climate change kicks in. And it is of course the stage upon which 'a sudden and wholesale redistribution of world power' from America to China, the superpowers that face each other across it, is being played out.
I attended a week-long Pacific nature conservation conference in Suva, Fiji, in December 2013. My lasting impression from that gathering was the sense that, unlike the powerful players around its periphery, the inhabitants of the ocean itself - the Micronesian and Polynesian peoples of its thousands of islands and atolls - who perhaps stand to be most directly affected by these tectonic shifts in climate and geopolitics, feel they have no voice in shaping their future. How will they fare? We'll have lots to talk about when we meet in the Town Hall on 21 February!
Jon Doust on talking with Patrick deWitt Some years ago Patrick deWitt withdrew from the world, but not the entire world, just the big one, the World Wide Web. I want to know why he did it, how he did it, how hard it was.
I have read two of deWitt’s novels – The Sisters Brothers and his latest, Undermajordomo Minor – both intriguing, mysterious, dark, funny, and finely crafted. Both are takes on old genres, with the first a western and the second written in response to his reading of European folk tales.
The Canadian writer could be on a roll as Oscar nominated actor John C. Reilly is about to star in a film version of The Sisters Brothers and apparently he has a tattoo of a lighthouse on one arm because he wanted to be a lighthouse keeper when he was a boy. Albany is perfect for him.
Maree Dawes on talking with Virginia Reeves I want to talk with Virginia Reeves about her way of weaving disparate universes together and providing us with a past so detailed it feels like I could open a door and walk into it. Her novel, Work Like Any Other takes us into the State of Alabama in the 1920s through the electricity company, borderline farming and prison without ever losing touch with the universal truths revealed through the inner landscapes of her characters.
I think many of us will be also keen to hear about the powerhouse of the Michener Centre- her cohort there included Kevin Powers who was a guest of Perth Writers Festival GS in 2013
Warren Flynn on talking with Jasper forde Do you easily bored? Yep, me too. That’s why Jasper Fforde likes to keep things moving. Whether it’s a comic fantasy series for teenagers, or biting social satires for adults, you’re guaranteed a fun journey once you turn that first page. With his background in major feature film production, Fforde knows how to time scenes wonderfully to make maximum impact with minimal words – something I always look for in quality writers.
Fforde has a prodigious output in several different genres – and titles which inspire an instant rapport for savvy readers: The Last of the Dragonslayers, The Well of Lost Plots, First Among Sequels among many.
He also has the Monty Pythonesque ability to tie an ordinary light pole into knots: The Gingerbreadman: Psychopath, sadist, genius, convicted murderer and biscuit is loose in the streets of Reading. It isn't Jack Spratt's case. He and Mary Mary have been reassigned due to falling levels of nursery crime, and The NCD is once more in jeopardy.
At some point most novelists are asked: “What category do your books fit into?” Well for my work, it depends which title you pick – action-adventure; cross-cultural romance; suspense thriller. When Jasper was asked this question in reference to just one book, he replied: I generally say that it is a bit of a hodgepodge. Romance, thriller, fantasy, crime, everything.
A sort of Swiss Army knife of books! Or a station with too many trains in it. So, if you don't like a sub-plot, just wait five minutes and another one will come along. If you don't like a genre, then just wait and another one will pop-up, as if by magic.
There’s definitely a heap of magic in each of Fforde’s books and his first stand-alone novel, Early Riser, is bound to have even sleepy-heads ready to leap into a new adventure. “Sleep is death spread thin.” To sleep, perchance to dream really funny stuff.
Miles Watson on talking with Paolo Bacigalupi As a writer whose own source of inspiration is so often the natural world, and as an environmental activist and wildlife rehabilitator, I feel a natural affinity with the mind that produced The Windup Girl and The Water Knife. We are messing up our world with alarming rapidity, and Paolo Bacigalupi's dystopias are all too realistic, but his science fiction also testifies to the resilience of the human spirit - and of its capacity for good. I sometimes need to be reminded of the latter.
I also seem to share with Paolo a fascination for creating female characters and constructing their voices. His Windup Girl - a genetically modified woman designed to meet rampant male desires in a world ravaged by climate change and resource-depletion - excites my sympathy and awakens my admiration in a way that I hope my own characters do for other readers. He and I also share a love for a well-constructed, vivid, mind-absorbing sentence.
As a coastal community, Albany has much to lose in the struggle against climate change and environmental degradation. Of all the voices in contemporary fiction, none could be more urgently applicable to our own hopes and fears than Paolo's.
Remember the Giants? If you can’t you probably didn’t read a newspaper, watch a TV screen or chat with friends for a month.
What’s more, you wouldn’t know that two Creative Albany members were in the thick of it.
First, Dianne Wolfer, of course, she had to be, she wrote the book, The Lighthouse Girl, from which the tale was derived and adapted by Jean-Luc Courcoult , Author/Artistic Director and Founder of Royal De Luxe.
And second, the one who probably had most fun, Cassy Turner, secretary of Creative Albany and renowned athlete and risk taker.
Cassy worked for the French based street-theatre company, Royal De Luxe, and Perth International Arts Festival 2015.
“I performed as a 'Lilliputian' or puppeteer of the Giants,” she said. “After 2 weeks of intensive rehearsals, I performed alongside a team of 16 West Australians and over 50 French.
“The 11m tall Diver Giant was operated by nearly 30 people, including me and a significant moment was celebrating the Little Girl Giants Birthday - 10 years old.
“Her day was commemorated with dancing, laughing, singing and there was even cake. Unfortunately, she was unable to eat any, something about lacking a digestive system, so we had to eat it for her.”
Cassy said she felt very proud to help bring the Giants to life and that performing in front of an estimated 1.5 million people was an “unforgettable experience”.
Read more about Dianne's work and her Giant experience on her blog; http://diannewolfer.com/